It’s Easter Sunday, and Christians around the world are celebrating the resurrection of Christ. After such a sorrowful ending of a life, filled with betrayal, doubt, loneliness, pain, death–a new beginning takes place. One filled with hope, faith, and that unconditional, endless love.
These holidays are always difficult for me. They put to the test my decision to leave the Catholic church and seek a liberal religious community of Unitarian Universalism. My entire family is Catholic. Having so many people believe deep in their hearts that you are no longer one of the chosen people is more than a little frightening. My mother cried when she realized my daughters would not be baptized. That was a terrifying moment. Am I wrong? What if I’m damning myself and my children for not accepting Jesus as my lord and savior? What made me leave the safety of such faith?
It was opening my mind to the many wonderful people I knew (or didn’t yet know or would never know) that follow different stories, legends, myths, faiths. It was opening my heart to the people who seek the right way in life, whatever that may be, who do more than just do no harm, but indeed do everything they can to help, to heal, to treat people gently and kindly and with love. My mother-in-law stopped attending Church of God because she had doubts. She also helped feed millions of hungry people for 23 years through her life’s work in a food bank, among many other jobs in a life of service. I can’t believe that Lois is a lost soul.
According to the Unitarian Universalist website:
There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Unitarian Universalism (UU) draws from many sources:
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
- Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
- Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
Since I do believe in a higher power, I find God in so many places in the above text. But that is my road, my right way. I also believe it’s important to honor other paths too. And throughout my journey, I hope to be an example (and receive inspiration from other examples) of Jesus’ greatest teaching–that unconditional, endless love.
So, yes, Easter and other holy days, scare me a bit when I think that I’m now considered out of the fold–an “other”. But when I sit among people I know and love, who fuel my desire to live well and treat others well, I know that every day is truly holy.